Trying To Get To You

Friday, June 13, 2008

Isaac Hayes Ushers In The Summer

*These pictures were taken by me from about 450 away from the stage with very little light. To whatever extent they came out well, I thank my Canon S3IS with the 12x optical zoom and the 48x digital zoom.

Last night’s Isaac Hayes show at Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park will not go down as one of the great soul shows of all time. But that’s so besides the point that it just about has no point at all. No other kind of music would bring in a crowd like last night’s: White and black, old and young…all grooving and celebrating the start of the summer.

But when Hayes tore into a great version of “Walk On By,” (from Hot Buttered Soul) the show went to another level – the crowd responded from the opening riff, delighting in the greatness of the song and their lasting love of it – and Hayes responded. His voice, wavering during various points in the set, gathered strength and passion, and for a moment, the crowd was swept away.

Hayes introduced the next song as, “a song I wrote a long time ago,” and went into a somewhat tepid version of “Soul Man.” But the quality of the version didn’t really matter. “THAT’S THE GUY THAT WROTE ‘SOUL MAN,’ AND HOLD ON, I’M COMIN’” I exclaimed to myself. I uttered out loud, to no one in particular, “This is like hearing God recite the Ten Commandments.”

And of course, from the opening hi-hat notes of “Shaft,” the crowd erupted. Building anticipation, with the wah-wah guitar, synth-string and synth-horns increasing the tension – it was a little slice of heaven. And the crowd, on their feet, with enormous grins, sang those faintly ridiculous and utterly irresistible lyrics about the “private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks.” It was a delicious moment and a wonderful way to usher in the summer. The night was a great reminder that soul may go in and out of fashion – but it’s eternally in style.

1 comment:

Eric said...

hey ben,

glad to see you shine some light on Isaac's show. i was there, too, and enjoyed it very much. yeah, he's moving a little slow and shaky nowadays, but "Walk On By," "Never Can Say Goodbye," and "Do Your Thing" were all transcendent. such great music.

the next night at Summerstage, Mavis Staples (with Stephanie McKay opening) also put on a great show. 2 nights in a row, 2 free concerts, in the 2 best parks, featuring 2 of the greatest Stax artists - summer in NYC is a beautiful thing.

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